In a closely fought encounter it was Thurrock who struck the only goal of the game after 12 minutes to end the Urchins’ promotion hopes and resign them to another season in the Ryman Division 1 North.
Wednesday 26-April-2007 – Play-Off Semi Final
THURROCK 1 HORNCHURCH 0
TFC – Mason, R Winn, Sutton , Halle, Onyemah (Barham 90+2), Bruce, Clark, Poole, Stimson (Cowley 58), Christou, G Winn (Morgan 46)
Subs: Wheatley, Pindy
HFC – Mott, Cohen, Bentley, Lee, Cooper, Styles, Thompson (Wall 66), Chouman, McKenzie (Purcell 66), Tuohy, Seymour (Nesbitt 50)
Subs: Easterford, Bantick
Officials – Thomas Hancock with Peter Wilson, Karl Sear and Daniel Cook
Scorer – Sutton 12
Bookings – McKenzie 9 (H) – Onyemah 69 (T) – Tuohy 72 (H) – Nesbitt 75 (H) – Cohen 77 (H)
Duration 47.00 + 51.00
THURROCK 1 HORNCHURCH 0
Kenzer Lee, Jed Chouman and Martin Tuohy came back into the starting line up for the play-off semi-final, and although Hornchurch provided the vast majority of the 461 attendance, most of them went home unhappy with the eventual result, as Thurrock were in control for much of the first half.
With just one minute gone, Sam Mott saved from Mark Onyemah. Hornchurch were unable to make any inroads at the other end, and Thurrock took the lead on 12 minutes with what turned out to be the only goal of the game.
A long throw from the right into the middle reached Remi Sutton, on the edge of the area, and his shot, seemingly mishit, bobbled its way past a packed defence and into the net.
Hornchurch began to come more into the match, and on 16 minutes Leon McKenzie and Martin Tuohy linked up to give Abs Seymour the ball out on the left wing. Seymour moved inside of his marker, and his cross cum shot was well held by Bobby Mason at the near post.
Nathan Cooper tackled well to deny Charlie Stimson, and Mason again came to the rescue at the other end with an excellent save from McKenzie.
The best chance of the half fell to Tuohy, who took a good cross from Alex Bentley, but, under pressure, his shot was too close to the alert Mason.
Tuohy again went close five minutes later when he headed a free kick from Abs Seymour just wide of the post.
Five minutes into the second half, Seymour limped off and was replaced by Teddy Nesbitt, who had a good opportunity to equalise ten minutes later when he ran on to a long ball out from Tuohy. He ran forward, but once again Mason came to the rescue, diverting the goal-bound shot to safety.
George Purcell came on for McKenzie, and when Hornchurch won a free kick ten yards outside the area, it was Purcell who stepped up to take the kick, only for the ball to rebound off the defensive wall.
Hornchurch had much more of the attacking play, but were at times left open at the back, and Jordan Clark went close with a first time shot, in what was by now a rare home sortie into the Urchins’ half.
With eight minutes remaining, only a superb Mott dived full length to save from Sutton, and, with two minutes of normal time left, Tuohy almost turned in a flick on from Ross Wall.
Five minutes stoppage time was indicated, which stretched to six minutes as Thurrock made their final substitution, and Hornchurch twice went close in that period.
In the final seconds, it was Mason who again saved the day for Thurrock when a free kick was played out to the right and then back into a packed goalmouth, with the home keeper saving on the line to give Thurrock an away trip to Maldon & Tiptree in the play-off final.